Biden’s Climate Pledge Keeps Getting Pushback

Biden’s White House continues to receive pushback from unexpected sources on the climate change issue. Although there’s an expectation that most Republicans will oppose issues like clean electricity, carbon reduction, and other environmental policies, moderate Democrats are not getting on board with the idea.

Senator Joe Manchin III, a Democrat from West Virginia, can table any environmental effort in a 50-50 Senate when all GOP members are against the proposal. That headache is what the Biden Administration is currently trying to manage. 

Manchin’s district focuses on coal production and what he sees as more sensible solutions to the climate crisis

The Fight Is Over the Clean Energy Performance Program

Democrats hope the Clean Energy Performance Program helps utilities increase their clean energy supply.

By rewarding the agencies that make 4% improvements annually, the goal is to consequence those that don’t achieve that outcome. It was included originally in a tax-and-spend package to achieve the broader economics that Democrats want to see for the United States moving forward.

Biden pledged to cut emissions by half by the year 2030. This promise inspired some last-minute policy changes right before global leaders initiated some of the most critical conversations about the climate in the past 25 years. 

One of the newest initiatives is to create a voluntary emissions trading system while providing federal funding to stop pollution. These structures would impact the steel, concrete, chemical, and aluminum industries. 

Since the talks are still in the early stages, no one knows how the programs would be structured. A significant gap still exists between the progressives and moderates in the Democratic party, which means there might not be enough votes to proceed.

This Is What Biden’s Environmental Plan Includes

When Joe Biden first started running for office in 2019, one of his first released initiatives was to provide a “clean energy revolution.” By focusing on environmental justice, he hoped to set himself apart from the rest of the candidates.

That ambitious effort worked. After defeating Donald Trump in the general election, the Biden Administration started reversing the policies from the past four years that they saw as detrimental to the environment.

One of the first steps of that process was to rejoin the Paris Agreement.

What Does the Biden Plan Hope to Accomplish?

Biden and his team have some lofty goals with their environmental plan, but the efforts could lead the United States to a leadership position in future green energy solutions.

Here are the goals of the Biden plan.

1. Ensure a 100% clean energy economy.

Biden wants the United States to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. By creating a clean energy economy, the goal is to start reversing the problems that greenhouse gases cause with the global warming issue.

2. Build a stronger country.

Whenever technology changes happen, people get displaced from their jobs. Biden’s efforts include infrastructure updates that offer training to workers while encouraging greener transportation, construction, and resource access. This process also contains regional climate resiliency plans.

3. Stand up to the polluters.

Instead of allowing vulnerable communities to continue carrying the greatest portion of pollution’s dangers, Biden plans to take action against the companies that profit from fossil fuels and environmental damage. That means safe drinking water, access to electric vehicles, and other opportunities to restore the land.

By taking these steps, the Biden Administration hopes to bring the American environment back to a place of restoration. Although time will tell if it works, this structure does provide hope to many who were hurt by previous policies. If Kamala Harris succeeds the current President, she will likely follow through with the same plan.

Rainforest Deforestation Reaches Highest Levels

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse biomes on our planet. It is also disappearing at an alarming rate. Recent fires have furthered this issue, with the G7 offering $20 million to help put out the flames. 

That figure might seem like a lot, but it is only a small portion of what is necessary to stop the deforestation process.

Politics plays a prominent role. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro initially said that he’d reject the offered funds, then walked the comment back by saying he’d take the money if French President Emmanuel Macron would apologize for criticizing his handling of the Amazon fires.

Exploiting the Amazon Is Very Profitable for Brazil

About 60% of the Amazon rainforest biome is within Brazil’s borders. That means there are about 2.1 million square miles of undeveloped land. It might be a massive carbon dioxide reservoir, but it also creates opportunities for profit.

After several years of decline, fires and deforestation rates surged to their highest levels ever in 2019. Much of the activity occurred after Bolsonaro took office.

Scientists are still learning how the rainforest impacts the global climate system. Removing this biome not only removes one of the most biodiverse concentrations of life on our planet, but it could also change weather patterns in dramatic and unpredictable ways.

Several researchers are now raising the alarm about reaching a dieback scenario in the Amazon. If enough of the forest is lost, the entire ecosystem could collapse. 

What Drives the Rainforest Deforestation Process?

Ranching is the primary driver of deforestation in Brazil. The country is now the largest beef exporter in the world, generating almost $7 billion for the economy each year.

Brazil is also the second-largest producer of soybeans worldwide, with almost 80% of what is grown domestically being used for animal feed. Since China placed tariffs on American agricultural products, more orders for Brazilian crops are causing a surge in new farming opportunities.

The Amazon also contains rich deposits of oil, aluminum, and gold. Illegal mining efforts are at unprecedented levels, and the demand for timber is equally high.

Bolsonaro campaigned for the presidency by saying that he would exploit the rainforest. The country’s agricultural lobby endorsed this approach. In the short time he’s been in office, the enforcement arm of the environment ministry has issued 30% fewer fines than in 2018 despite the increases in illegal activity.

These efforts include a reduction for indigenous protections, with a call to integrate the remaining tribes into modern Brazilian life. By facilitating construction projects for roads, bridges, and dams, it will become easier to exploit what the rainforest biome offers.

Deforestation increased by 88% in 2019, with the number of fires in the Amazon rising by 84% at the same time. That information comes directly from Brazil’s government.

The G7 providing $20 million in aid seems like a helpful first step, but those governments control an economic system with a cap of at least $300 trillion. We must do more if we’re going to save our rainforests.